Featuring Teni, Amaarae, Calypso Rose, Oumou Sangaré, Solange and many more.
The month of March marks OkayAfrica's annual celebration of African women with our 100 Women list.
The list is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale.
These women are disrupting the status quo socially, economically, and politically. They are creating safe spaces for African women globally, driving technological and scientific advancements, pushing for inclusivity in television, film, art and media and steering us toward a more sustainable way of living.
Following that spirit, the ladies from the OkayAfrica staff—and, by the way, we are mostly women—decided to select some of our favorite songs that represent women making an impact across the globe for a special new playlist. We'll also tell you why.
Our selections span from newer names like Amaarae and Summer Walker to classic songs from the likes of Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, and Calypso Rose. There's also plenty of Teni in there.
Check it out below.
Les Amazones de Guinée "P.D.G"
Les Amazones de Guinée is Guinea's first all-female band and one of the country's longest running groups. Their sound is simply impeccable and raw. I try to make a point to lend my ears to African women musicians of the past who, in their small way, paved a path for the women musicians today. —Antoinette Isama
Lauryn Hill "Everything Is Everything"
"Everything Is Everything" off her seminal 1998 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill fuses different black genres – soul, R&B, gospel, hip-hop — in a way that mirrors just how all-encompassing Lauryn Hill is; from her music to her cultural significance to her look. Hill has a pan-African aesthetic; she could pass for a black person from any region of the world—West Africa, East Africa, the Caribbean, America, and her music resonates across these regions and generations. "Everything Is Everything" is about welcoming change and growth; a message that speaks to and for black women and girls, everywhere. —Ivie Ani
This was my favorite Naija pop song of last year. It's a genre in which women don't get nearly enough recognition, but it's hard to deny the glittering appeal of this song and Teni's infectious energy. Plus, what better way to start a song than with a nod to the magnificent Anita Baker? — Damola Durosomo
TeaMarr "One Job"
It's the perfect anthem to dispel your belief in a (useless) man. Just when you need to remind yourself who you really are. And the visuals are amazing. —Oyinkan Olojede
Oumou Sangaré "Kamelemba"
Oumou Sangaré lyrics are always lessons and this song is no different. It's an ode to never give up but to also protect your heart from the riff raffs out here. —Sinat Giwa
Summer Walker 'Girls Need Love'
Highly obsessed with R&B newcomer, Summer Walker. "Girls Need Love" takes us back (but in a good way), to the classic contemporary R&B sounds we all know and love. Looking forward to seeing Summer flourish in her music career. —Olabisi Famakinwa
Little Simz "Offence"
I really appreciate the shit-talking on this song. Little Simz's lyrical dexterity is on full display here. It's the type of track you listen to when it's time to remind yourself who tf you are—we all need that sometimes! —Damola Durosomo
Queen Latifah "U.N.I.T.Y."
Queen Latifah broke rules with her 1993 track, "U.N.I.T.Y." Because of the song's positive and progressive message, back then, many radio and TV stations would play it without censoring the words "bitch" and "hoes." Touching on street harassment, domestic violence, both hip-hop's culture and society's mistreatment of women, the song asserted that black women and girls have autonomy, authority, and agency over their bodies, relationships, and lives. A message that resounds as clear today as it did two decades ago. —Ivie Ani
I'm a big fan of Amaarae's originality—she's such a vibe. A member of the buzzing alté music scene, I feel her music is a response to what the industry's expectation of a female artist should look and sound like. —Antoinette Isama
I like that Solange's latest album "When I Get Home," encourages listeners to celebrate the unique places that define us, through the singer's own championing of her hometown of Houston. I enjoy her flow on 'Binz' and the line "I just want to wake up on CP Time" expresses one of my biggest life aspirations. — Damola Durosomo
Calypso Rose "Leave Me Alone"
Calypso Rose's legacy alone speaks volumes. This vibrant melody has a smooth mixture of both old school calypso and the new age soca. The gist of the message: Let me free up!!! Simple as that. —Jasmine Michel
Niniola is one of my favorite artists and I'm pretty much obsessed with her sound. "Bana" is a bop. —Oyinkan Olojede
Rico Nasty "Countin Up"
Excuse the expletives, but Rico Nasty says it plain and I'm here for it. Her energy and focus to secure bags while ignoring the haters is #goals. —Antoinette Isama
"Case" is the cheesy afrobeats love song that I can get behind. It's been such a pleasure to watch Teni's growing success. —Oyinkan Olojede
Tiwa Savage "Ma Lo"
As soon as the beat drops, you can't help but dance. This song gives me mid-summer chill vibes. Definitely a classic. Tiwa Savage shows us once again why she's the reigning Afro Pop Queen. —Olabisi Famakinwa
Lauryn Hill "I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel)" (Unplugged)
A classic from Lauryn Hill. The whole album is very vulnerable and raw which makes it so beautiful. —Jasmine Michel
Teni is that chick. Her voice is so smooth and melodic on this track. The visuals and messaging for this song are awesome too. She's a breath of fresh air in the male-dominated afrobeats music scene. Teni's got next! —Olabisi Famakinwa
Seinabo Sey "I Owe You Nothing"
Behold! A mantra and a mood. —Sinat Giwa